Zambian livestock minister Michael Katambo announced an indefinite fish ban in Luapula Province to curb the spread of cholera which broke out in districts surrounding Lake Mweru-Luapula, the province’s main fishing waterway.
All fishing areas –Lake Bangweulu, Mweru-wa-ntipa, Mweru-Luapula, Lukanga Swamps, Lusuwashi, Lower Zambezi and Chambeshi – are closed from December 1 to the beginning of March. Lake Kariba and Lake Tanganyika remain open.
The ban is put in place to avoid fishing during the breeding season to ensure the replenishing of fish stock.
“Following the declaration of cholera in the Mweru-Luapula fishery area, the fish ban in the province will remain in place until declared free of the disease,” Katambo said.
According to the minister, the lakeshore districts of Chiengi and Nchelenge was also hit by cholera.
However, sources told africanfarming.com local fishermen are flouting the extended ban, as they are desperate to earn money.
“It is hard to observe the ban. Fishermen are catching the fish and transporting it to other markets within the province,” said one source.
Police sources in Luapula confirmed reports of the confiscation of hundreds of kilograms of fish from people suspected to be in violation of the ban.
Previously, provincial minister Nickson Chilangwa called for an extended year-long fish ban as the only way to replenish the serious depletion of fish stock in the province.
The minister said the three-month annual ban was insufficient to address the over-fishing which occurred over the last decades.